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Rodeo, New Mexico
December 7, 2005
Pulling into South Campground, a big sign informed us that they would be closing for the season on Monday. The camp host told us that by then, there would be plenty of sites available at Watchman though, their reservation system ending on Sunday. So we decided to stay for two nights at South, and the remaining three nights at Watchman. We found a spacious site with a seemingly good southern exposure (think satellite), and settled in. So although things ended well for us, the lesson to be learned is, it’s best to make reservations (only possible at Watchman) especially in the busy summer season, and even on popular Fall weekends, to be assured of a site. South Campground closes for the season the last weekend in October, and re-opens the second week in April. It remains first-come, first-served the entire season.
South Campground is ideally situated north of the Visitor Center, a five minute walk away, and the Virgin River runs along its east side, with plenty of access points from the campground. Due to Zion campgrounds’ and park’s extremely heavy visitation, many areas are fenced off to prevent vegetation from being trampled by humanity, and it’s not permitted to gather firewood. On the northern border of the campground sits a nature center building, closed during our stay. Walk-in tent sites are also on the northeast end, near the river. Popular Pa’rus hiking-biking trail begins at and skirts the eastern edge of South, along the Virgin River.
Camp hosts are located at the entry, and hop in their golf cart driving over to newly self-registered and paid campers to mark their tags and answer any questions. A nice feature of South Campground is that you’ll find the full range of camping here, from luxury motor homes to the tiniest tents. We found fellow campers to be considerate for the most part. Generator usage is only allowed between 8-10AM, and 6-8PM. The only camping faux pas we were aware of, was committed by a couple a few sites down that blared their radio loudly while they were taking down their tent, earning Bob’s scowl as we walked by.
Cost: $16/site; half-price Golden Age or Eagle passports.
From journal Mukuntuweap – Splendors of Zion
June 29, 2002
From journal Backpacking in Zion NP